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Awards and Grants FAQ

Paige Anctil is the Awards & Grants Officer at the Psi Chi Central Office and has provided answers for some of the most frequently asked questions regarding awards and grants.

Awards and Grants Questions

What is the difference between an award and a grant?

An award is given to recognize research and accomplishments that were completed in the past. Awards are not restrictive in how the funds may be used.

A grant provides funding to complete research in the future. It is more restrictive in how the funds may be used and may require submission of reports following the research period.

What is SmarterSelect?

SmarterSelect is our online application submission portal. When you apply for an award or a grant, or you apply to become a reviewer or sponsor, you submit your application through SmarterSelect. Psi Chi Central Office uses this software to manage and organize applications.

How competitive are the programs?

The vast majority of Psi Chi awards and grants are offered to Psi Chi members only, allowing for a much smaller applicant pool. Psi Chi programs are numerous and well-funded.

What are the differences between undergraduate, graduate, and faculty member categories?

Undergraduate student: Psi Chi members are eligible for grants if they will be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student during the time period intended to carry out the research.

Graduate student: Psi Chi members are eligible for grants if they are currently enrolled in a graduate program, either Master’s or PhD, and will be enrolled during the time period intended to carry out the research.

Faculty: Psi Chi members are eligible for grants if they are currently employed by an institution of higher education or other institution that has an institutional review board (IRB) for reviewing research with human subjects. This includes full-time tenured and tenure track faculty, part-time faculty, adjunct faculty, and those in postdoc positions.

The award or grant program I want to apply to is closed. When will the application portal open again?

Application portals open approximately 30 days before the program deadline. Earlier than 30 days, only the previous version is available for applicants to review to ensure that they have ample time to prepare. 

How soon after the deadline will I be notified of a funding decision?

Both recipients and nonrecipients will be notified via e-mail approximately 30 to 60 days after the program deadline.

Why didn't I receive any feedback on my application?

All of our reviewers generously volunteer their time to evaluate applications and are not required to provide any additional feedback or comments. 

What are the biggest mistakes most applicants make?

Not following the instructions. Each award and grant has guidelines detailing what should be submitted. These four things are often overlooked:

  1. Length requirements. If the instructions state six pages, then only submit six pages.
  2. APA style. Ask many people to proof your submission, and a final review by your research sponsor or advisor is always advised.
  3. Masking. Remove all identifying indicators including your name, your advisor’s name, the institution’s name, and the geographic area from the entire submission. Be sure to also check forms, fliers, and other appendices. Submissions must be completely anonymous. To mask a document, you may black out information or use XXX. There are numerous online resources that provide examples of masked submissions (also known as blind submissions). Masking is required to prevent bias when the Research Grants Committee reviews the proposal.
  4. Timeliness. All components including letters of recommendation must be submitted by the deadline.

What should I do with grant money that was not used in my research project?

Individual and Corporate Recipients with unused grant funds after project completion may either choose to keep the unused portion as taxable income or to donate it. If the recipient elects to donate the unused portion, we suggest the funds go to your Psi Chi chapter or campus psychology lab. Please do not send the unused funds back to the Psi Chi Central Office.

Non-Taxable Entities Recipients with unused grant funds after project completion should donate it to your Psi Chi chapter, campus psychology lab, or another worthwhile entity or endeavor. Please do not send the unused funds back to the Psi Chi Central Office.

What timeline do you recommend for preparing an application?

Awards and grants have different timelines.

With awards, the majority of the work has already been completed; and a 30-day timeline is recommended.

  • Prepare the draft of your essay 25 to 30 days before the deadline.
  • Have your research sponsor proof the cleanest version of the draft.
  • Always provide a copy of the cover sheet for the program to those assisting in proofing to ensure you are following all the instructions.

Grants need a longer timeline; a minimum of 45 to 60 days to prepare your application is recommended.

  • Get your institutional review board (IRB) application submitted as soon as possible.
  • Request letters of recommendation well in advance.
  • Fifteen days before the grant submission is due, make sure you have a final draft of all components to the application.
  • Request for your research advisor to proof the materials and check them against the cover sheet to ensure all the instructions are being followed. Instead of waiting until the last day, submit your application online a week before the deadline so that you have time to handle any unforeseen issues. 
Why is applying for an award or grant important?

Completing the process of applying prepares you

  • to demonstrate your ability to communicate results to graduate school reviewers,
  • to show potential employers that you can develop and implement ideas within the restrictions of budgets and institutional guidelines, and
  • to highlight your achievement in cover letters and personal essays.



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